The annual extravaganza's programming slot from 11:30 p.m. to 1:09 a.m. reached 25.6 million viewers.
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve's live broadcast of the Times Square Ball Drop in New York City might have been frigid on Sunday night with temperatures dropping to nine degrees Fahrenheit, but the ratings were red hot. The annual extravaganza hosted by Ryan Seacrest saw its biggest overall audience in at least 27 years, welcoming 25.6 million viewers with an 8.2 rating among adults 18-49 (10.6 million) during its late-night part 1 programming slot from 11:30 p.m. to 1:09 a.m., according to data by The Nielsen Company provided by ABC.
The ratings were high enough to best last year's Grammy Awards telecast, which aired on CBS last February, making it the top music special of 2017.
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve debuted in 1972 on NBC and has aired on ABC since 1974. The reported late-night part 1 data marks the largest audience since the start of Nielsen’s electronic database in September 1991. Year-over-year, the program's late-night part 1 slot grew by 5.3 million viewers since last year, with a 26 percent increase in adults 18-49 specifically.
Overall the special dominated over other networks' New Year's Eve programming, running in full from 8 p.m. on Sunday to 2:07 a.m. on Monday (for ratings purposes, it is divided into segments based on time). Year-over-year, the prime time segments increased viewers 59 percent to hit 10.5 million with its part 1 (8-10 p.m.) and up 35 percent for 15.7 million total viewers in part 2 (10-11 p.m.). The show's part 2 late-night segment (1:09-2:07 a.m.) also gained a double-digit jump in viewership year-over-year, rising 24 percent for 8.9 million in all and locking in its second highest numbers since it began airing in 2000. All time slots increased in adult 18-49 viewership as well.
The primetime part 1 segment included performances by Spears, Clarkson, Charlie Puth, Fitz and Tantrums, Hailee Steinfeld, Florida Georgia Line, Sugarland, Camila Cabello, G-Eazy and Halsey, Shawn Mendes and Khalid. The primetime part 2 segment featured Nick Jonas, Shawn Mendes, Zedd and Alessia Cara, Walk the Moon and Portugal the Man. And the late-night part 2 segment closed the night with performances by Clarkson, Fitz & the Tantrums, Khalid and Marshmello, Steinfeld, Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line, Mendes, Portugal. The Man, Kane Brown, Halsey and Puth.
The event also included Jenny McCarthy as an on-site reporter providing commentary from the crowd throughout the night, Ciara hosting from the West Coast broadcast in Hollywood and Lucy Hale hosting the live celebration from New Orleans.